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School Board prepares for the new year

August 05, 2009
As an attempt to further assess and improve Gilford's school system, Superintendent Paul DeMinico asked School Board members to reflect on their past school year experiences during their work session last week.

DeMinico instructed the board to consider the good, the bad, and the ugly, he said after the session. The board must tackle any problems and finds ways to maintain successful aspects for the next school year. Overall, DeMinico said the board was happy with the direction Gilford's schools were going in.

"We are pleased with the competency levels developed at Gilford High School and the late entry Wednesdays, in order to further retain our competencies. We engaged in an overall discussion for the higher learning of the kids," said DeMinico.

The board also discussed an accrediting agency, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, which correlates with competency levels. The NHASC will be discussed at the next meeting with a written report, said DeMinico.

"The administration put a lot of work hours in and found this aspect of the year to be very positive. On the opposite end, we talked about higher expectations for Gilford. Overall, we want to raise the bar," he said. "Test scores should be higher and we want fewer behavioral referrals to the office. We talked about the theories we want to focus in on. We want to advance our curriculum and direction, and increase our expectations."

DeMinico added that the board also zoned in on the 2010/2011 budget, which he referred to as "responsible" in the past. He said the board plans to tighten their budget more so next year, considering they have no interests in new programs. However, the board does not wish to cut any present programs or classes either, said DeMinico.

On another positive note, the new principals for Gilford Elementary School and Gilford Middle School, Jack Billings and Marsha Ross, respectively, are ready to start the new school year.

"It's fair to say that the board was pleased with their process and negotiations on hiring the new principals. Both principals are highly experienced," said DeMinico.

One issue the board still faces is the decision over the School Administration Unit Office presently located at the Gilford town hall. DeMinico explained that the town has asked for the SAU office to relocate so the town hall can have more office space.

"The SAU has two options we already set in the budget. Either they move to Gilford Elementary School or move to the old town library on Belknap Mountain Road. There's the challenge of the heirs who owned the library facility," said DeMinico.

DeMinico said the decision and the process was difficult because it seemed political, but that either facility would serve the SAU just fine. By Aug. 20, the board hopes to make a final decision on where to place the SAU's office.

"My position is that either facility is long-term and is adequate enough for the needs of the SAU. All the educational directors will be under one roof. There will be no educational difference," said DeMinico.

The Gilford School Board plans to further discuss their plans for the upcoming school year at their next meeting on Aug. 10.

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